Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Louisville, KY

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Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Louisville KY
850 AM EDT Tue May 16 2017

...May 18, 1995 Jessamine County, Kentucky wind damage reclassified
as a high-end F2 tornado...

Summary:

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Louisville worked with
Jessamine County Emergency Management to perform a detailed review
of morning thunderstorms on May 18, 1995. Below is a brief
preliminary update of the facts uncovered. A detailed write-up and
GIS map of the tornado will be available by June 30.

During the morning of May 18, 1995, a line of thunderstorms moved
through Central Kentucky. The line progressed from Anderson and
Washington counties eastward through Fayette and Madison counties
between 700 and 800 am EDT. Within the line, NWS Doppler radar
showed that a bow echo indicative of intense straight-line winds
moved across Mercer County. On the north side of the bow, an F2
tornado occurred in northeastern Mercer County and southern Woodford
County around 727 am that damaged or destroyed 8 homes with several
injuries. The bow echo quickly raced into Jessamine County. In far
southwestern Jessamine County at the intersection of Highway 1268
and 68, seven horses were killed along with extensive barn and fence
damage.

A combination of eyewitnesses, video and photo evidence, and a
damage analysis was used to reassess the original determination of
severe straight-line winds at West Jessamine County High School. The
debris pattern was consistent with an F2 tornado instead. Doppler
radar showed a definitive cyclonic circulation in velocity data
along the bow echo associated with the tornado. The tornado hit the
high school around 736 am EDT based on radar. Wind speeds were
estimated at 135 to 140 mph.

The tornado produced extensive structural damage at the high school
with over 2 million dollars in damage and 20 to 30 injuries, one
critical. The tornado occurred as students were arriving at school
on buses. Eleven buses sustained significant damage with their
windows busted out from flying debris. The tobacco barn and
greenhouse for the agriculture program was destroyed and the cattle
barn sustained significant damage.  Across Jessamine County,
numerous trees, power poles, barns, and homes sustained considerable
damage from the storm system.

The National Weather Service would like to thank Jessamine County
EMA Johnny Adams...former EMA John Carpenter...West Jessamine High
School Athletic Trainer Dean Geary and NWS Student Volunteer Cody
Moore for their help with this comprehensive forensic meteorology
case.

More information will be made available by June 30. This will
include a tornado path width and length, and a detailed web story
with graphics.

Follow us on Facebook at NWSLouisville and on Twitter at
@NWSLouisville.

$$
JDG/TWF/CM



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